Talk focuses on toxins in food supply

Scientist seeks to 'raise alarm' about chemical contamination

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

"Stop eating yourself sick!" warns the poster advertising a free lecture sponsored by Go Green Oak Park about "protecting your family from toxic chemicals and other dangers in our food supply" to be given by soil scientist and genetic scientist Thierry Vrain at Trinity High School, 7574 Division St. in River Forest, on Thursday, April 12 beginning at 7 pm.

Vrain self-effacingly identifies himself as the resident gardener and chief weed puller at the Innisfree Farm, a botanic garden in British Columbia which uses probiotic techniques of building healthy soil microbiota to grow medicinal herbs and vegetables, fruits and nuts for sale. 

Oak Park resident Dr. Susan Buchanan, clinical associate professor and director of the Great Lakes Center for Children's Environmental Health at the UIC School of Public Health, will moderate the discussion following Vrain's talk.

"Virtually 100 percent of Americans carry measurable pesticide residues and dozens of other chemicals in our blood streams," Buchanan said. "In children especially, who generally have higher exposure and higher levels than adults, studies have shown effects on neurodevelopment and rates of certain cancers."

Although Vrain is a published scientist, Buchanan said that Vrain doesn't talk like one. 

"His presentations," she said, "are geared towards the general public, in the style of a Ted Talk. He is committed to spreading the word about the extent of and the potential health effects of pesticides used in growing our food."

A post by Go Green Oak Park on the website Event On quoted Vrain as saying, "I became concerned a few years ago that there were so many scientific studies pointing the finger away from the GMO smokescreen. I am now publicly raising the alarm about the current excesses of industrial agriculture, particularly antibiotic contamination of engineered crops and food."

Vrain is concerned with the effect genetically engineered crops and the use of Glyphosate (Round UP) are having on our health.

"It's almost as if the entire population of North American is on a low-grade antibiotic diet day in day out from birth, every day, so this is the reality," Vrain is quoted as saying on the Event On website.

 

Forest Park Go Green hosts clean-up

The Oak Park event isn't the only Go Green happening this month. Forest Park's fledgling Go Green group will be sponsoring a Forest Park Clean-Up event on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22.

As the name of the event implies, residents are invited to gather at 1 p.m. at the Forest Park Public Library, 7555 Jackson Blvd., before fanning out to clean up the litter that has accumulated during the winter. For more information, you can email Lucia Whalen of Go Green Forest Park at whalenlucia@gmail.com.

The main goal of the event, said Whalen, is to raise awareness of environment issues and the Go Green group's involvement in addressing those issues on a local level.  Whalen said she especially wants kids to be involved. 

She will be teaching them how to use an app called Litterati on which users document where trash exists in their towns by taking pictures of it.

Whalen said her group has been focusing on the creation of a village sustainability commission, improving recycling in Forest Park and getting businesses to focus on improving the local environment.

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